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The National Pharmacy Association’s board and committees convened, remotely, on 18-19 January

01 Feb 2021

Chair of the Board, Andrew Lane, reports: This was the first meeting of the NPA board in the Association’s centenary year. We are proud of the NPA’s achievements over the past 100 years, however our discussions this month were focused on the here and now, including the ever-present challenge of coronavirus. We have been able to rapidly develop our training offer to help independent pharmacies support the expanding COVID-19 vaccination programme, whilst also generating positive publicity for pharmacy’s role in fighting the virus.

The board remains deeply concerned about the impact of covid-19 on our members’ finances. We are determined to keep up the political pressure for fair funding, which has to include making good on commitments to meet the additional costs associated with coronavirus. This is ultimately about patient care but it is also a matter of fair pay for work done, and we will be articulating this powerfully over the coming weeks.

We received a presentation from NHS England’s Director of Systems Transformation, Roger Davidson. Roger aims to develop strong Integrated Care Systems across England.  He argued that covid-19 has highlighted the case for collaboration and partnership work locally and indeed at all levels of the health and social care system. He also advocates pushing decisions and resources as close as possible to patients, who are the ultimate centre of all our efforts. We emphasised that community pharmacy should be appropriately represented in all emerging leadership and accountability arrangements. For the public to get the maximum benefit from community pharmacy, the sector needs to be embedded in decision making – both having visibility and being visible.

As usual, we received reports from our managers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Colleagues in NI are keeping a close eye on the potential impact of Brexit on the smooth supply of medicines, in particular niche lines.

We were delighted to hear details about the early success of the NPA’s ‘Kickstart’ employment initiative with recruitment company Reed. We are currently opening a third phase of applications following a phenomenal initial response from independent pharmacies wishing to take on young people via the scheme.

Other topics for the board this month included hub and spoke dispensing, pharmacy supervision and workforce, plus our ongoing support for the All Party Pharmacy Group and other